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Peacekeeping and Stability Forum Held at AUSA

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AUSA
Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A one-day forum on the U.S. military’s role in peacekeeping and stability operations was held Sept. 12 at the Association of the U.S. Army's Conference and Event Center, gathering military, government and defense industry representatives for a discussion about the future of global operations.

Representatives from the Army, the federal government and the defense industry gathered at the meeting, which was hosted by AUSA’s Institute of Land Warfare and held in cooperation with the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute. There was a two-part focus to the event, looking at current operations and then focusing on what may lie ahead.

Retired Gen. Carter F. Ham, AUSA president and CEO, a former combatant commander with experience in peacekeeping and stability operations, said there is room for improvement. “Whether it’s Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Mali, Central Africa, or many other places across the world, we tend to concentrate our efforts and resources on the military component,” Ham said. Sometimes, he suggested, a whole-of-government approach could be more effective.

PKSOI, currently led by Col. Gregory R. Dewitt, was born out of the aftermath of U.S. operations in Somalia in the early 1990s, said retired Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, AUSA’s immediate past president and currently chairman of the board of the Army Historical Foundation.

Going into Somalia, “we didn’t know anything about the people with whom we would work, which was much to our detriment,” said Sullivan, a founder of the peacekeeping institute. It took time for the Army forces to realize that joint training with local forces was needed, he said.

Today, a big part of the Army’s mission set falls into the category of peacekeeping and stability, Sullivan said, adding, “This organization [PKSOI] has done important work for the country, and there’s a lot of work left to do.”

During the one-day forum, two panels on peace and stability operations discussed issues such as partnership-building efforts, systemic reforms, committing new staff officers, logistics support and troop training, and overseeing civil-military command exercises.